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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Craigellachie 14 year old 2000 Old Malt Cask, cask 10892

Craigellachie Week began, yesterday, with the vibrant, zesty 13 year old official bottling. That one was from refill ex-bourbon casks. Today's Craig is from a single sherry butt bottled by Hunter Laing in the Old Malt Cask range. I bought this sample (amongst many others) from Master of Malt a month before InBev took them over and further damned Americans' access to scotch whisky.

Distillery: Craigellachie
Ownership: Bacardi
Region: Central Speyside
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Label: Old Malt Cask
Age: 14 years (Feb 2000 - Oct 2014)
Maturation: Sherry Butt
Cask #: HL10892
Bottles: 680
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The nose is intensely earthy and herbal at the start. Roots, leaves and grass. Lemons and teeny bit of vanilla. Hints of wet cardboard and menthol. On the palate, it's tobacco, bitter herbs, limes and silky toffee pudding. More limes and herbs with time. Lingering smoke and some chili oil heat. One can really feel the citrus in the big finish, along with the nose's dusty earthy note. The toffee has its moment, but that earthy thing expands with time.

Let us gaze upon the bottler's tasting notes:
Not only do those notes sound oaky and unappealing to me, they also read like generic American oak sherry cask stuff. One can get those flavors and smells from many whiskies. There's no need to go to Craigellachie for them. Also, see "smooth".

The good news is, my notes are nearly the opposite of Laing's. It's not a perfect whisky. I could have done without the cardboard note, and the palate was much tamer than the entertaining nose. But this is the kind of dirty sherry cask Craigellachie I'm in the market for, as opposed to the sherry cask something from the official notes.

Availability - Maybe a few continental Europe retailers
Pricing - ~€80
Rating - 86